Rounding it up
41% of Canadians say money is their greatest stressor. So let’s walk through the steps of getting your finances in order and reduce some of that mental strain.
The first step is setting financial goals. Not only can they help you figure out how much money you need to set aside, they’re also super motivating.
Next up, organization. Seek a finance system that fits into your life and can keep you on track.
There’s a reason my generation loves plants like they are our children and are especially deft at folding t-shirts like Marie Kondo in our studio apartments: we graduated into a gig economy with little to no job security and a crushing housing market. Just because you have an RRSP doesn’t mean you have it all figured out, and just because you went out for brunch last weekend doesn’t mean your future kids will go starving. They too will one day eat brunch. Everyone just needs to calm down.
A very popular and tired trend is telling millennials they are bad with money, they need to move out of their parents’ basements, and that they should think twice before buying a latte.
One recent headline yells: “You may not believe the age Millennials stop taking money from their parents.” Then there’s the classic by finance expert Suze Orman: “If you waste money on coffee, it's like 'peeing $1 million down the drain.” Meanwhile, a 2018 survey found that 41% of Canadians said money was their greatest stressor and 51% are embarrassed that they don’t have more control over their financial situation.
So we’re going to walk through the steps of getting your financial life in order. Not because Suze thinks you should, but because there is a correlation between financial well-being and your mental health. It doesn’t take a report or news article to know that.
Why have financial goals?
These really aren't financial goals, they are life goals. Think about what you really want in life over the next 5, 10 and 30 years. Maybe your goal is to live debt-free, to have a cat or two, to start your own business, to buy an actual house, or to one day close the lid of your laptop and settle into a hard-won retirement. Setting financial goals should be a) motivating and b) help you figure out how much money you need to set aside.
Why organize your finances?
There are too many fun ways to spend money (Ariana Grande concerts, beaches in Greece, new restaurants with celebrity chefs, I could go on), so you probably need some kind of finance system to keep you on track. This means "spring cleaning" your finances and setting some money aside regularly. Like a good closet purge, it just feels better to have things organized.
Set aside a few hours so you can find the right balance with a system that will fit into your life and work well for you. You can try focusing on a budget that gives you ample money in areas that add value to your life, and cut out the stuff that you know you can live without. So roll up your sleeves, hunker down next to your beloved and well-tended plants, and get started!